There was something curious about the buzz surrounding Tucker, GA SG Manny Atkins heading into his junior season – there wasn't much. Described by scouts as a "talented prospect that can play guard or forward," the 6-6 197-pounder set out to do something about it. By the time the dust settled after his junior season he had averaged 24 points per game en route to earning All-State honors. And suddenly buzz got really loud.
“It was a breakout year, “ Atkins told ScoutHoops.com's Dave Telep earlier this spring. “My junior year, I had to get out and show everyone who I am and what I can do. We won the state championship and had big time players (last year) but this was my year to step up and take control. In AAU ball, I'm going to have to step it up and work on the little things like ball handling. This is going to be my big summer. “
True to his word, Atkins didn't stop putting in work when his high school season ended. AAU season has served as vehicle for the continuation of his strong play. He is now garnering attention from programs like Georgia Tech, Auburn, Marquette, Georgia, Florida State and Clemson. He has also caught the eye of the Michigan Wolverines. Headman John Beilein has definitely taken notice of Atkins' play and recently showed just how impressed he was by extending a scholarship offer.
“I got a good vibe from Coach Beilein, “ Atkins reported. “He sounded very excited when he offered me. “
Getting up and down the floor is the style of play that interests the talented forward, and for that reason the Maize & Blue is definitely in contention for his services. The fact that it's a strong academic university as well has only served to strengthen Michigan's case.
“I think that I could fit in with them, “ he said. “Plus academics are very important to me and my mom. I am looking for a place that has both academics and athletics. “
Atkins claims no leader at this time, but he could settle on one in the not too distant future. The demands of his recruitment appear to be wearing on him a little.
“Right now I am just going to look at all of my options, “ Atkins explained. “I would like to make a decision soon. I am feeling some pressure about picking a school but I want to make the right decision. “
The major question for Michigan will be can he be lured away from the south where interest is growing as well (Auburn recently offered).
For the time being Atkins is monitoring the growing interest in his talents and readying for his next AAU appearance at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. If he continues his stellar play there will be even more schools ready to offer him.
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more on Atkins in the coming weeks.